Manchester United have had their opening offer for Joules Kounde rebuffed by Sevilla with the Spanish side holding out for a much bigger fee, according to reports.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is looking to bring in a new centre-back to partner Harry Maguire this summer and the club appear to have narrowed their search to La Liga, with Villarreal’s Pau Torres and Real Madrid star Raphael Varane also on their shortlist.
But 22-year-old Kounde appears to be their first-choice target, with United making an opening offer worth €45million (£38m).
However, according to Duncan Castles and The Transfer Window Podcast, United’s bid has been rejected out of hand by Sevilla who are holding out for a much bigger offer.
The Spanish side’s director of football, Monchi, told United there was no way he could sell for such a low fee, having been offered – and rejected – a €55m (£47m) bid last summer for the versatile young defender.
While there have been suggestions that Monchi is hoping to land as much as €80m (£68m) for Kounde, a bid of around €65m (£56m) should be enough to get a deal over the line.
Part of the reason Sevilla are standing firm over their valuation is due to a clause in his move from Bordeaux two years ago which entitles the French side to 30% of any future transfer fee.
Having paid €25m (£21.5m) for Kounde in 2019, and with that 30% clause to deal with, United’s opening offer would have left Sevilla with only a very small profit.
Due to La Liga transfer budget restrictions, that would have meant they could only reinvest around €10m (£8m) to sign a replacement; despite Monchi’s brilliant ability to unearth gems, he does not feel that is enough money to replace Kounde.
Therefore United must significantly increase their offer if they want to land Kounde, though they may decide that Torres and Varane offer more affordable alternatives.
In the case of Varane, he only has one year left on his contract with Real Madrid and the Spanish giants are prepared to cash in if he refuses to commit to a new contract, with any fee likely to be around the £40m mark – though he will demand massive wages compared to compatriot Kounde.
The younger Frenchman is actually on Real’s radar to replace Varane and Kounde’s preference would be a move to the Bernabeu over United, though they are short on funds this summer which has opened the door for the Red Devils.
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